“The power of words” is the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January. So, why is this the theme?  The reason for genocide, the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group, is because someone uses their voice. Someone who views someone as less of a human because of their race, ethnic group, gender or any other factor automatically becomes more inhumane.

Why would someone discriminate? There are many reasons why someone may discriminate but one of the main causes may be weakness. Growing up in a place where discrimination may be taking place around you can be hard to cut away from, sometimes stopping it may mean that you have to have the courage to do good when everyone around you is doing wrong and the easier thing to do is to follow the crowd. Another reason for the narrow-mindedness may be insecurity. The person could be insecure and see the other person, or group of people, as a threat (for whatever reason) and the easiest thing to do is make them feel bad about themselves as they do themselves.

What effect can words have on people? They say actions speak louder than words but words can be just as powerful. Genocide often starts with the spoken opinion of one or more people; the words are potent and unjust and can lead to actions which may broadcast a message to a wider range of people. Although, the words which helped the cruel murders to unravel continue to ring in the minds of victims who are nothing less than equal humans.

If the power of words can begin this tragedy why can’t they end it?